Let’s define “discipleship” as used on this web site: the practice of teaching believers to grow in faith, hope, charity, knowledge, and zeal, conforming ever closer to the person and example of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Definitions should be short in order to be useful. The above, as ambitious as it seems to me, feels woefully inadequate in light of such Scriptures as 2 Peter 1:5-10, Romans 12:1-2, Romans 8:1-10, Rev 2:19, 3:8, and countless others. Given the two principal missions of the NT church, namely evangelism and discipleship (or perhaps more simple – preaching and teaching), discipleship is about growing the Christian in every aspect of life. We should be pleasing the Lord in our private study and prayer, in our marriages, in business, in our neighborhoods, and in our churches.

The two missions are intertwined, of course. Of what possible use is a soldier of Jesus Christ, armed with the equipment of Ephesians 6, who never enters the fray – reaching out to the lost? Bible study and personal holiness is vanity if one is disobedient to the Lord’s commands to preach. Similarly, of what use is the evangelist (a necessary characteristic of every Christian) who knows little of the Bible, lives a worldly life, and cannot discern between truth and heresy?

The big problem is that American churches are designed to prevent their people from doing the two missions. How can Christians love one another Biblically (John 13:35) when they are sitting next to strangers while watching a scripted show? Within the standard church program, how can you pray knowledgeably and effectually for one another? Additionally, most of the “Bible expertise” resides within the paid pastoral staff. Bible knowledge is disappearing fast. And where is the practice of personal evangelism? Most of the pastors rarely sally forth from their pulpits and palaces to deign to preach to a lost person on the street or at their door. Also, the most faithful and zealous members of a typical conservative church, by the time they have attended several meetings and activities each week, are exhausted. They don’t have time or energy to teach their children, not to mention reach out to their neighbors for whom Christ died.

Our hope is that the articles we attach to this section might provoke some thought in a believer who hasn’t realized that his “Christian life” isn’t even addressing the basic issues found in a simple reading of the New Testament. We pray that we might be a help to someone out there!

– Dr. Dave

Comments are closed.